Don't they teach Pythagoras any more?

(98 Posts)
Dancergirl Fri 10-May-13 22:54:14

I was having a chat with dd1 tonight who's in Year 7. She had never heard of Pythagoras, it wasn't taught in primary school and so far, not in Year 7.

I remember learning it in Year 6. I know teaching maths has changed a lot over the years but surely this is fundamental?

Bunbaker Sat 11-May-13 20:17:15

I started secondary school in 1970 and we didn't do Pythagoras until the second year (year 8 as it is now). DD is in year 8 and covered Pythagoras before Christmas

You must have been an exceptionally high achiever to study it at primary school.

burberryqueen Sat 11-May-13 20:20:55

is pythagoras theorum where the square on the hypotoneuse is equal to the sum of the other two somethings....? If so I think we did it in year 6 or 7, we were supposed to be brainy, hehe if only they had known...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 11-May-13 20:42:09

pre national curriculum? oh god, am I that old?

Yeah, I'm either dead clever (I was in the top set for everything and been a chronic underachiever ever since grin ) or I've been out of school so long that it's all squished in my mind into one jumbled mess.

I've just asked my husband, he is also convinced he did it in primary.

He is kenyan and he is nearly 50. He says it is also possible that he is now so old that he can't remember either. grin

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 11-May-13 20:43:20

In fact, I am now so ridiculously invested in this that I'm going to call my dad and ask him! grin (he's a maths teacher)

mrz Sat 11-May-13 20:45:12

The National Curriculum was introduced in 1988

RustyBear Sat 11-May-13 20:50:07

If it was 1988, then the lesson at our school can't have been pre-NC. It was probably pre the Numeracy Hour, though - when was that brought in? Was that when they brought in all that stuff in a plastic packet - they used to call it 'the lunchbox' at school...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 11-May-13 20:56:57



my parents are laughing their arses off. Apparently it was the first year of senior school

I nearly didn't come back! blush I said but mum, I've been arguing with people on the internet that I'm right! And X (my husband) did it in primary too. To which she reminded me that X was a) privately educated and b) privately educated in a different country. After she'd stopped laughing, my mum wished me bon appetit (for the humble pie) and said that it's probably because I'm so old. My memory's going.

I only called them to get proof i was right. blush

[sad bastard emoticon]

mrz Sat 11-May-13 21:00:09

Technically there never was a Numeracy hour but the Numeracy Strategy was introduced in the late 1990s (98ish?)

RustyBear Sat 11-May-13 21:02:35

That'll be what I'm thinking of. (By the way, in case you were wondering, I'm not a teacher, or I would hopefully know all this, I'm just a computer tech...)

mrz Sat 11-May-13 21:02:53

I was taught Pythagoras in my first year at grammar school pre NC

ClayDavis Sat 11-May-13 21:46:41

Numeracy strategy was '99 I think. I did Pythagoras in year 7 or 8 of a selective independent. Definitely didn't do it at primary. Although thinking about it, it wasn't in this country so that probably doesn't count.

pointythings Sat 11-May-13 22:09:34

BTW Pythagoras does have a practical use if you're an archaeologist in the field and you don't have a theodolite handy - it lets you lay out a dig grid with reasonable accuracy using the 3-4-5 method - all you need is 3 metal tent pegs and a 30m tape measure. Been there, done that. It was at uni, though.

mrz Sun 12-May-13 06:56:24

I think it was '99 Clay I was teaching in a Numeracy Strategy pilot school so we started in '98

mrz Sun 12-May-13 07:02:16

Thinking about it pointythings I remember using Pythagoras in primary to measure the height of trees on the school field ... no one told us we were using Pythagoras at the time .

Mominatrix Sun 12-May-13 07:21:19

It would be a very advanced 7 year old who would be able to understand, let alone derive the Pythagorean Theorem, but surely at 8-9 children could do this. DS, who is in this age bracket has reviewed area and perimeter (introduced last year), and also has covered squares and square roots. When they had an assignment about right angled triangles, I asked him if they had been introduced to Pythagorus as it seemed to fit the topic and he is Ancient Greek mad, and he said no. I explained it, had him do a practical derivation of it, and he understood it. I think that it would probably make a fun homework assignment to derive the relationship between the sides and the hypotenuse, but then I am truly a geek, and there really is no point in knowing this until they start studying geometry.

I was introduced to the theorem in middle school - i think 10 or 11 years old, but had to really use and derive it when studying geometry at 14 and physics at 15.

mrz Sun 12-May-13 07:27:37

Year 7 pupils are 11-12 years old Mominatrix

Mominatrix Sun 12-May-13 08:00:42

Thank you for the clarification - I am still bemused about year/ages in school in the UK. So my experience is very much in line with the other posters.

CouthyMow Sun 12-May-13 10:18:59

I would have just started the Juniors when the National Curriculum was inteoduced.

I remember that I did Pythagoras in Secondary. If I think which Secondary I should be able to place which year group...

Oh, no, hang on, I must have been in Primary, Y6 probably, because it was in my 11+. Back when we all sat it, so everyone must have been taught it!

So what I did at Secondary must have been just a refresher thing.

OnFoot Sun 12-May-13 15:49:25

I definitely didn't do it in primary and I'm a child of the 70s.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 12-May-13 16:03:53

I didn't do it in primary
Didn't really do it in secondary either but that was more because of useless teachers

My ds1 is year 5 (private) and incredibly good at maths and he hasn't done it yet. He has some understanding having read about it.
When he does get taught it I'll get him to teach me.

Jux Sun 12-May-13 16:09:34

DD is in year 9 and they are on to SOHCAHTOA, so did Pythagoras earlier.

We did Pythagoras in prep school, about year 4.

Ferguson Sun 12-May-13 17:34:34

Hi -
I certainly didn't do it until grammar school, and that was early 1950s!

When we did do it we had to know how to PROVE the theorem; today I believe kids LEARN ABOUT it, but don't have to do the proof (though I am happy to be corrected by a secondary maths teacher.)

noblegiraffe Sun 12-May-13 17:40:50

No, kids don't need to be able to prove it (I'm secondary maths) although I might go through an algebraic proof with a top set, and usually do a bit of cutting and sticking with Perigal's dissection with a lower set (although that's a demonstration rather than a proof).

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